TPiB: Turn Your Library into Lovecraft Middle School (spooky crafts and Halloween fun)
Halloween is one of my most favorite times of the year. The leaves turn beautiful colors and glide gently to the ground, perfect for leaf pile jumping. Everyone gets to dress up. And there is candy. Lots and lots and lots of candy. I may or may not be the parent who sneaks candy out of the candy stash after my kids go to bed. In my love for Halloween, I have set up my library as a haunted house a couple of times. And as I read through the Tales from Lovecraft Middle School series, I can’t help but think that this is not only the perfect Halloween read, but the perfect programming tie-in.
Tales from Lovecraft Middle School is a series about school that was built where a bizarre house used to stand. Now, there are portals in the school, gateways to another dimension where this house once stood. And sometimes strange, terrifying creatures come through the portals. Not everyone knows about them, but Robert and Glenn do. These are fun, slightly terrifying tales for middle grade readers – think a modern day take on Lovecraft for the Goosebumps set. I’ve read all four books and they are more fun then scary, perfect for the MG crowd.
You can turn your library into a haunted house (Pinterest is your friend to research this). Also, there are a few fun hands on activities below you can do for a program.
Book 1 of LCMS is called Professor Gargoyle, so of course a gargoyle craft is a great idea. Follow this link to Free Kids Crafts for a complete list of materials and instructions. If you are ambitious, you can make gargoyles out of non-bake clay and let it dry.
Book 2 involves two sisters who have snakes for hair, ala Medusa. Oriental Trading (every librarian’s friend) has wooden wiggly snakes you can purchase and let participants color. You can also make these springy spiral snake mobiles to hang from the ceiling or make these cool paper folded snakes.
Buggy Crafts and Games
Book 3 involves bugs. There are no shortage of bug crafts out there. Again, Pinterest is probably your friend here. This bug is made from a calculator and school supplies. I love this spiderweb made with colored chalk and school glue. I also think it would be fun to buy some Hexo Bugs (not cheap, but you can buy them in bulk) and let the kids build HexoBug parks/arenas out of boxes, etc. and do some racing/fighting.
Book 4 has a sinister substitute teacher and an army of monsters. For some hands on monster fun you can either do an Exquisite Corpse activity (directions here) or pull out your left over craft supplies and let the kids loose to make their own monsters. I love craft closet clean out! You can also check out these previous posts: It’s a Dead Man’s Party , Bring Out Your Dead and Monster Fest.
You could also do some face painting and a monster make-up lab.
The people in my neighborhood are already starting to decorate for Halloween. Get out your smart phone and take pictures. You can then Instagram them to add atmosphere and, if you like, add words to create cool signage for the season. You can use your pics to create bookmarks, wall or end cap art, and more.
Here is some more random fun that you can throw in:
Tombstone Making : You can find instructions (and lots of other fun Halloween themed ideas) at It’s Written on the Wall.
Bat Mobile (which you can also turn into garland)
Creeptacular Touch Test: Check it out here at Craft Interrupted
Eyeball Miniature Golf – Make a min golf course (book ends, boxes, tubes, etc.) and use these floating eye ball balls as your golfball.
The Tales from Lovecraft Middle School are written by Charles Gilman and published by Quirk Books.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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